Tutu finds a place to call home

Tutu, the kitten that found a home at McAuley Care is filling a gap in many lives. Most of the women and their children who come to McAuley Care’s safe house have had to leave their home in a hurry to escape family violence. They must leave everything behind, including their beloved pets.

Six month old Tutu came to McAuley Care after she was dumped in a box at a veterinary clinic along with her new born siblings.

“Tutu was the runt of the litter, so there wasn’t much hope, but day by day she kept improving and I quickly realised she was a very special and lovely cat,” said Cassandra.

“I first brought her in for a day while I was working to see how she would go being around a flurry of workers, women and children and everyone fell in love instantly.”

In July last year, the Victorian Government announced a $100,000 program through Safe Steps to provide shelter and care for pets when their owners are escaping family violence.

“This is a very welcome initiative as we see first-hand how threats of violence made against pets stop some women from seeking help,” Cassandra said.

“The reality is that pets are members of the family, and like any other member of the family you want to keep them safe and secure. The decision to leave home is already difficult enough- women are torn between protecting themselves and their children, and leaving their pets behind to what could be a violent situation. Tutu can’t replace their pets, but she can offer a bit of comfort for the time the families are at our safe house”.

Unfortunately, at present pets cannot come with women and children into our safe house or other crisis care shelters. However, we assist in any way we can by linking in with pet services such as Lort Smith, or arranging care with family and friends who can lend a hand in a time of need.

Over the past year McAuley Care, Victoria’s only accessible 24/7 safe house and refuge service kept a total of 496 women and children safe. Two hundred and forty one children, from babies through to teenagers, accompanied their mothers. The majority of women and children, who spent time at our safe house needed to move again into transitionaryaccommodation options before being able to access secure, permanenthousing, this included:

  • 119 women and children moved into refuges
  • 2 returned home under the safe@home program
  • 36 stayed with family and friends
  • 24 went to other accommodation
  • 14 returned home and
  • 17 did notdisclose their destination.